Last weekend, 88 people died in an unseasonal tornado outbreak which was notable for sowing death and destruction across several states. 35 tornadoes were confirmed, 44 were reported. These tornadoes were seen in Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Mississippi, Ohio, Arkansas, and Alabama. Attention from revolutionaries and the left is focused mainly on the deaths of 6 workers at an Amazon facility in Edwardsville, Illinois, and 8 at a candle factory in Mayfield, Kentucky.
How did these people come to die? In Kentucky, workers at the candle factory said that they were threatened with termination if they attempted to leave the facility. Similar reports were heard from Amazon in Edwardsville, with one worker who died, Mr. Larry Virden, texting his daughter that they were not being allowed to leave. Photos of the devastation from Edwardsville show packages presumably from the Amazon facility being scattered over dozens of miles from the site. Many people from across several states are still unaccounted for, possibly because their bodies have been swept across hundreds of miles.
These deaths can be laid at the door of capitalism-imperialism. All of them, not just those who died on the clock. Climate change and the subsequent dangerous weather events are directly the product of capitalism-imperialism. Severe tornado outbreaks in December are not normal, as many have observed. When you think of tornadoes, you think of spring, not winter. Currently, in Saint Louis, it is unseasonably warm, 66 degrees F. More and more fossil fuel emissions being pumped into the atmosphere will produce more and more freak weather events until they become more and more routine. Murderous tornadoes in winter. Floods sweeping entire neighborhoods into the sea and drowning cities. Entire countries disappearing beneath the waves of the Indian Ocean. Entire communities, Black communities, in Louisiana and Texas, dying from cancer, courtesy of oil refineries and chemical plants. These are not accidents, they are acts of capitalist-imperialist negligence or, in the case of the chemical plants and refineries, planned acts to destroy the Black masses who live in these communities. Every death from climate change and weather events caused by it is laid at the feet of the imperialists. Every death from asthma, AIDS, cancer, diabetes, and other diseases that come about from lack of healthcare or proximity to toxic waste sites and factories is attributable to the imperialists.
In essence, death is in the air and on the march. Capitalists and their managers would prefer for you to risk your life and hunker down on the clock instead of seeing and sheltering your family and friends during these severe weather events. This cannot be clearer, they don’t care if you die. You are expendable meat, a number on a piece of paper. They will make you die and have your coworkers walk over your corpse to clock in the next day. The only hope is for workers to organize on a Communist basis and not just refuse to be sacrificed for a corporate balance sheet, but to make revolution, seize political power, and struggle for a life-affirming system as opposed to one which eats them alive and spits out the bones. We must have Communism if we are to survive as a species. This cannot be more clear in light of last weekend’s events. There is no reform that can fix a corporation that orders workers to their deaths. All corporations order workers to their deaths, at home and abroad. All corporations benefit from the shattered mental health and broken bodies of workers. There is no such thing as a progressive corporation. To defend or even to remain apathetic to their crimes, keeping your head down and clocking in and out without caring what happens to your fellow workers, is to side with them and guarantee nothing but death and destruction for you and yours. Which side are you on?